Configure Instant Messaging in Exchange 2000

Posted on January 7, 2009 by Daniel Petri in Exchange Server with

How to install and configure Instant Messaging on Exchange 2000?

Step #1: Installing the IM service

If you didn’t do so already, you must first install the IM service on the E2K server. Do so by running the E2K setup. When you get to the “Component Selection” page make sure you see a “V” on the “Microsoft Exchange Instant Messaging Service” line.

Note: IM is not supported on Exchange Server 2003. You will need to uninstall it from your server if you ever decide to upgrade.

If you don’t see one, on the “Microsoft Exchange 2000” line click the little black arrow and select “Change”.

Now go to the “Microsoft Exchange Instant Messaging Service” line and change it’s status to “Install”.

Click Next and choose “I Agree” (if you indeed do agree…), now review your settings. Click Next to start the installation process. When it finishes click Finish.

Check to see it the service is indeed installed. Go to the Microsoft Exchange System Manager console, drill down to your server name, open the Protocols container and see if you have an “Instant Messaging” sub-container. If you do, proceed with this guide. If you don’t, go back and make sure you’ve installed it correctly.

Right-click the “Instant Messaging (RVP)” sub-container and choose New > “Instant Messaging Virtual Server…”

In the Welcome to the Virtual Server Wizard page click Next. In the Enter Display Name page enter the name you want to identify your server by. I chose “Server4 RVP“, but you can enter any descriptive name you want. Click Next.

In the Choose IIS Web Site window select the web site under which the IM domain will operate. This should be your default web site, and if you change it make sure you have a valid web site that uses the default port of HTTP (80) and the server’s IP and Host name. If you choose to operate under a different virtual web site that uses Host Headers make sure you enter that name in your DNS server. Click Next.

In the DNS Domain Name dialog box enter the server’s fully qualified domain name (or FQDN) as is written in the DNS database, a name that can be correctly resolved to the IP address of your server. Click Next.

In the next window make sure you check the Allow this server to host user accounts checkbox (that is if you plan to host IM accounts on the server, or in other words if you want the server to act as an IM Home Server). Click Next. Click Finish to finish.

Step #2: Configuring the IM user accounts

That part of the setup is done. Now we must configure the IM user accounts. Open Active Directory Users and Computers. Drill down to the OU where your user accounts are stored. Select the user (or as in the following screenshot – many users) you want to create the IM account for. Right-click the user and choose Exchange Tasks.

If a Welcome to the Exchange Task Wizard appears click Next. In the Available Tasks page select “Enable Instant Messaging” and click Next.

In the Instant Messaging Home Server dialog box click Browse and look for the server you’ve configured before. You should be able to see the “Server4 RVP” name in the Select Instant Messaging Server window. Click it and press Ok. In the Enable Instant Messaging windows click Next.

In the Task In Progress windows observe while the wizard creates IM accouns for all selected users. Click Next and Finish.

Step #3: Installing the IM client

The next step is to install the IM client no the user’s machines. The standard E2K CD media ships with IM v2.2 which is quite out-dated. The current version of the IM client is v5.0 (5.0.0468) for Windows XP, W2K and Windows Server 2003. You can download it from here:


Windows Messenger v5.0 for W2K/XP/2003 (8.23mb)

Note: Windows Messenger 5.0 client is not available for operating systems previous to Windows 2000. For Windows NT 4.0, Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Millennium Edition you will need v4.6 of the Exchange Instant Messaging Client:

Windows Messenger v4.6 for Win9X/ME/NT (1.87mb)

I’ll describe the following steps by using the v4.6 client on a W2K Server platform, but installing v5.0 is practically the same.

The client installation file (in v4.6) is named “mmssetup.exe”. Double-click it to start it’s installation. There is nothing to say about the installation process. Only one Yes button to click and you’re done. When the setup finishes after a few seconds you’ll see the following welcome screen:

You’ll see a Click here to sign in link. Guess what? Click it!

A Sign In to Exchange Instant Messaging dialog box will appear.

Note: Although it clearly says “Enter your e-mail address for Exchange Instant Messaging” make sure you DO NOT enter your e-mail, but instead use the following format: “[email protected] of the IM Router”. The FQDN of the IM Router is the FQDN of the only IM server in the organization (the one you’ve configured in step #1) – in our case:

In our demonstration I will enter my username – administrator, followed by a “@” character, and followed by the FQDN of my IM server –

Note: You can later change this long name by using specific IM Host Entries in the DNS database, and by using SRV Records – see the Configure Instant Messaging SRV Records page for more info.

If all went ok you’ll sign in in a few seconds and can start talking to your buddies.

By following these exact steps you’ve installed and configured IM on E2K.


If you get a window similar to this window

then you’d be better off by removing the IM client and re-installing it. Trust me (unless you have a better way), you won’t be able to enter the required information in that window no matter what username and password combinations you try.

I found out that around 30% of the IM installation’s I’ve done ended up with that type of authentication window, and in my experience I found out that totally removing the IM client (and sometimes even the IM RVP Virtual Server) and clearing the DNS cache on the client machine will sometimes help.

If you want, you can configure the IM client to use the MSN Network service as well, along with the internal IM service. To do so click Tools > Options and go to the Accounts tab where you can enter your MSN/Hotmail passport account and password.

Registry Configuration

  1. You can disable the MSN account connection option by editing the registry:

Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\MessengerService\Policies and look at the ExchangeCONN value. This setting controls whether Exchange will be the primary service. If set to Exchange Only, the MSN Messenger Service will not be available to this client. The possible settings are:

0 = Normal1 = Exchange is primary2 = Exchange Only

  1. You can also disable the adds that appear in the lower part of the IM window by going to the same registry key and setting the DisableCrossPromo value. This setting controls the banner ads that appear in the lower portion of the client’s screen. If disabled, only the MSN logo appears. The possible settings are:

0 = Enabled1 = Disabled

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